Planned promotion of approved technologies in veterinary extension services
Dr Lalhumliana Tochhawng
Around the globe, technology adoption in farming is considered an important accomplishment in the 20th century in optimizing agricultural productivity there- by improving livelihoods. In spite of many technology interventions poverty still poses a major problem in achieving better outcomes in improving socio-economic conditions of the rural population as a whole where many are still living below the poverty line, the majority of whom are primarily dependent on agriculture for livelihood. One of the key reasons for such dismal situation is the low agricultural productivity, which is the conse- quence of using sub-standard agricultural inputs and sub-optimal agricultural technologies by the farmers.
Agriculture is becoming more integrated in the ago-food chain and the global market, while environmental, food safety and quality, and animal welfare regulations are also increasingly impacting on the sector. It is faced with new challenges to meet growing demands for food, to be internationally competitive and come out in the global economic reforms.
Technology is the application of scientific knowledge to improve condition of human life. Diffusion of the applied and scientific knowledge is an important factor for upliftment of agriculture and allied services so as to increase the overall income from the industry. To achieve doubling of farmers’ income, approaches should focus on incorporation of applied and scientific knowhow into the farming condition and to infuse such technology in the farming context. The adoption of technologies for sustainable farming systems is a challenging and dynamic issue for farmers, extension services, agri-business and policymakers. The agricultural sector needs to employ a wide range of evolving technologies and farm practices across many different farming systems and structures to meet a variety of changing and heterogeneous demands from consumers and the public for food, fibre and other goods and services provided by agriculture, often with uncertain outcomes in terms of their effects on sustainability.
Increase in demand is major driving factor for adoption of technologies. Farmers have always looked to new technologies to overcome low productivity and thereby reduce costs. In addition, higher incomes, greater knowledge and improved channels of commu- nication are leading consumers to demand low-cost food of higher quality for instances like demand on organic produce in many countries, with more variety, consistency and year- round availability. At the same time, consumers are increasingly demanding that their food be produced using techniques that conserve natural resources, limit environmental pressures and pay greater attention to rural viability and animal welfare.
Therefore, planned promotion of improved and sustainable technology in farming development of agriculture as a whole and animal husbandry in particular for the farmers is an important factor for holistic approach to improvement of farmer’s’ socio-economic conditions without hampering the environment for sustainable growth.
Way forward in promotion of planned technology
1. Technology and its diffusion
Technologies that are developed and adopted differ across regions. The different priorities and concerns related to achieving sustainable agriculture growth have resulted in a range of approaches and levels at which they are implemented. Government policy and frameworks in promotion plays a vital role in achieving the desired outcome of any planned programmes for example the key village scheme that was implemented for upliftment of cattle population in the country having its objective to strengthen the existing germplasm and thereby increasing the milk production in the country. Such government involvement ranges from a facilitating to a mandatory role, and includes direct funding for research, payments for dissemination and adoption, legal restrictions, awareness and advice. Moreover, the overall context of agricultural policies and the level of support is a key factor in determining which technologies are adopted at the farm level and in which locations at the farm level.
2. Research effort and Training programmes
Research efforts, farmers education and training, advice and information are shifting towards balancing economic efficiency with environmental and social sustainability. These two factors playa major role in dissemination and thereby adoption of any programmes and schemes that are deemed necessary for economic upliftment. Launching of any schemes and programmes were mainly focusing on research and advice to increase production, productivity and profits, without taking into consideration the farmers felt and unfelt needs whereas now the emphasis is on achieving those aims in a sustainable way, which often implies changing farm practices and using different technologies. Therefore, research and training should be directed towards problem based on situation analysis of the present farming scenario to achieve a planned behavioural change on part of the learners or the famers. In the past, research was often directed at solving technical problems; now it is also aimed at defining research priorities and best technology to address current and future demands by society.
(To be contd)